What is a Variance?

Sometimes your plans don’t comply with an ordiance, and you might think variance is a remedy.  However, variance is often misunderstood, so here are some clarifications:

A variance may be granted only for hardships created by characteristics that are unique to the property, which are related to the property’s unusual size, shape or topography, and pertain to the land itself, not to the structure, its inhabitants or the property owners.  (See Article VII in The Code of the City of Pine Lake).

  • The residential code states several instances in which a variance will not be considered, even if the unique hardship criteria apply, including those regarding reconfiguration or subdivision of lots and homes greater than 2,600 square feet.
  • If your structure predates February 14, 2009, you may not need a variance due to Existing Non-conformities.
  • You may not need a variance if the proposed non-conformity pertains to a numerical requirement AND it is less than 10% of the requirement.